It’s easy to fall into a rut doing the same familiar core exercises, but these little nine-inch, dollar-store balls will give you more than a bang for your buck!
To keep the workout (and you) balanced, these exercises will target your glutes, obliques, adductors, hamstrings, deep core and abdominal muscles. Be intentional about what you are working. By focussing on the muscles, you will keep better form and train more effectively.
PERFORM AS A CIRCUIT
Start with 10 reps of each exercise and work your way up to 20 reps.
Many of the exercises will be performed using one side of the body and then the other. Pay attention if one side is weaker. Work on getting both sides equally strong, which will result in less compensations and pain in your body.
1 SINGLE-LEG GLUTE BRIDGE WITH ADDUCTION
FOCUS: hamstrings, glutes, adductors, lower body strength and stability
• Lie on your back, knees bent and feet shoulder-width apart.
• Place ball between knees.
• Tuck tailbone under and slowly lift bum.
• Extend one leg straight out.
• Lower bum almost to floor then lift to start position.
2 DEAD BUGS ON BALL
FOCUS: lower abs, pelvic stability
• Lie on your back on the floor with your knees bent.
• Place ball under your bum.
• Lift both legs to a 90-degree angle.
• Set your core.
• Slowly lower one foot almost to the floor as you lower your arms overhead.
• Keep pelvis slightly tucked (like pulling a tail through your legs)
• Slowly return leg and arms to start position at 90 degrees. Alternate legs.
KEY POINT: For added stability, place hands on the floor at your sides. Remember to breathe throughout the exercise.
3 OBLIQUE/SIDE CRUNCH WITH ADDUCTION
FOCUS: obliques, adductors, cross-pattern stability
• Lie on your side with your head, shoulders, hips and heels in a line.
• Place ball between ankles.
• Support head in bottom hand.
• Engage your core and lift your legs and upper body three to five inches off the floor (like a banana).
• Lower slowly almost to the floor.
KEY POINT: To keep it out of your neck, relax your head into your support hand. Think of initiating the curl by pulling your ribs towards your hip and hip towards your ribs (do not pull with your neck).
4 QUADRUPED BENT-KNEE HIP EXTENSION WITH BALL
FOCUS: glutes and hamstrings
• Start with hands and knees shoulder-width apart, wrists aligned directly under shoulders and knees directly under hips. Engage core.
• Place ball inside knee and back of thigh to create a 90-degree angle.
• Start with knee as parallel to floor as possible.
• Press heel of elevated leg to ceiling and lift leg as high as you can without arching back and maintaining the
90- degree angle of knee.
• Return to start position.
KEY POINT: Keep body square (do not rotate) and do not arch low back.
5 BOW & ARROW CRUNCH TWIST
FOCUS: lower abs, obliques, pelvic stability
KEY POINT: Remember to breathe. If you feel it in your lower back, reposition the ball.
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APPAREL COURTESY OF: ALTITUDE SPORTS, NEW BALANCE, RVCA, SAUCONY
HAIR & MAKEUP: PIERINA LISSA MAKEUP